David Warner Sets Up Australia’s Win With A Century
Makes his hundredth appearance memorable; India loses its way towards the end of a tall chase
Australia finally found relief, breaking a year-long winless streak in one-dayers away from home with a 21-run defeat of India at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday. David Warner scored a memorable 124 on his hundredth ODI appearance as Australia ran up a towering 334 for five in 50 overs. Kane Richardson then claimed three important wickets as India lost its way towards the end of the run chase.
A 61-run stand for the fifth wicket between Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey had given India hope but both departed in the space of four balls. Jadhav, who made a fighting 67, was caught on the boundary off a slower ball from Richardson, at which stage India needed 49 off 27. Pandey was bowled for an entertaining 33, Pat Cummins hitting the top of leg-stump. M.S. Dhoni was given a hero’s welcome by the crowd but struggled to time the ball before dragging Richardson onto the stumps for 13. Virat Kohli’s men still lead the five-game series 3-1, heading into the final fixture at Nagpur.
India had stormed out of the traps, the openers batting with delightful ease under the lights during their stand of 106. Ajinkya Rahane played a series of delicious shots, slashing Pat Cummins past point one moment, deftly steering him wide of third man the next.
Rohit Sharma was not far behind, effortlessly clearing the ropes. Adam Zampa, who must have expected some pain this evening, was heaved twice over cow-corner as Rohit raised his fifty and team’s hundred in the 17th over.
Things were going swimmingly well when Rahane fell, caught at long-off for 53. Rohit was joined by Virat Kohli, and the two were soon involved in a mix-up — not for the first time — that cost the former his wicket.
Steve Smith produced a stunning, diving effort at the point to stop Kohli’s cut, and as the captain watched the ball, Rohit charged to the striker’s end. He turned around but was never going to make his ground. Eight balls later, Kohli was bowled for 21 trying to steer Coulter-Nile through third-man.
Hardik Pandya walked out to resounding cheers from the stadium, and he did not disappoint. It took him only four balls to unleash his first six, a thunderous slap off Travis Head that clattered into the members’ stand.
There was more joy: consecutive sixes off Zampa that cleared the fence by some distance. The leg-spinner had the last laugh, though, when Pandya holed out to long-off. There was finally some comfort for Zampa, and some for Australia.
Earlier, the visitor set off at a brisk pace after winning the toss and electing to bat first. India made three changes, resting Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, and Kuldeep Yadav, and fielding Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Axar Patel instead.
India’s new-ball pair — Umesh in particular — was wayward and Australia’s openers cashed in, drilling anything wide through the covers.
India clearly lacked control in the absence of Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah, and things scarcely improved after the first 10 overs. Axar Patel was brought on and Warner freed his arms at once. A short delivery was thumped over mid-wicket and a couple of wide offerings were gratefully squeezed to the point boundary.
Yuzvendra Chahal did not escape punishment either. Warner twice slog-swept him into the stands as Australia motored to 124 without loss in 20 overs. The 150 came up not long after when Finch unfurled a sublime inside-out drive for six off Axar. Warner reached his 100 off 103 balls as the openers broke an Australian record for first-wicket partnerships against India, surpassing the 212 Geoff Marsh and David Boon put together in Jaipur 31 years ago.
It was Kedar Jadhav who finally broke through with his flat, low-arm off-breaks, having Warner caught at long on. Finch fell five balls later, dragging a leg-cutter from Umesh into Pandya’s hands at mid-on. When Steve Smith was out for three, spooning a simple catch to Kohli on the leg-side to give Umesh his 100th one-day wicket, Australia had lost three for five in the space of 14 balls.
Yet another collapse seemed imminent but Peter Handscomb and Travis Head batted with patience, adding 63 runs for the fourth wicket.